The World Economic Forum (best known for hosting this week’s Davos conference) plays host to a number of Global Agenda Councils which bring together experts in a particular field to produce reports summing up the best available wisdom on what to do next. There’s a GAC on Employment and Social Protection which has produced a report for Davos 2012 snappily titled “The Case for an Integrated Model of Growth, Employment and Social Protection“, introduced by a blog from the Chair and Vice Chair. But it makes some very pertinent recommendations for the global leaders gathered in Davos, and is part and parcel of the growing intellectual argument for growth and jobs to have a higher priority than debt and deficit reduction (see recent posts on ILO, IMF and OECD reports).
The GAC on Employment and Social Protection includes people you would expect to make these arguments – like Vice-Chair TUAC General Secretary John Evans, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow and AFLCIO chief economist Ron Blackwell - as well as people who work in the global institutions already leaning this way like Stephen Pursey of the ILO and Prakash Loungani of the IMF. But it also includes academics like Zhang Xiulan from Beijing Normal University and Jose Antonio Ocampo from Columbia University in the US; and business representatives like Premkumar Seshadri of India’s HCL Technologies and Thero Setiloane from Business Leadership South Africa. So it’s a broad-based group.
Their five recommendations are, very briefly:
- a coordinated growth stimulus to ensure employment remains a top priority, including slowing the pace of deficit reduction in countries with the fiscal space to do so (which would certainly include the UK);
- immediate boosts to job creation and retention, such as youth employment promises and short-time working schemes;
- using social protection to help stimulate growth;
- establishing a social protection floor in developing countries, including cash transfers like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia; and
- governments working on growth and social protection with other stakeholders such as unions, business and NGOs.